SAN DIEGO - The youthful owners of custom injection molder Damar Plastics Co. recently purchased their seventh - and largest - Toshiba press, with 500 tons of clamping force. David Kabbai, co-owner and general manager, said he began replacing older equipment three years ago to upgrade the company to all Toshiba machinery. Damar's presses have clamping forces of 50-500 tons.
Damar, founded 29 years ago, has been around longer than one of its owners. Kabbai, who is 34, and his 27-year-old sister, Michell Kabbai, bought the company eight years ago from an owner looking to retire.
``The company had been primarily a hobby for him,'' said David Kabbai.
When the Kabbais purchased the company right after they graduated from college, it had three presses - but only one worked, David Kabbai said. With no experience in the business, he and his sister spent the first year learning about the plastics industry.
The Kabbais grew up with a manufacturing background. Their parents owned a company that manufactured latex gloves.
``Manufacturing isn't difficult, but learning the plastics part of this was hard,'' said David Kabbai.
The pair took classes in plastics processing, and with David's aptitude for the mechanical and Michell's expertise in accounting, the Kabbais began turning the firm around after four years. In 1992, the company moved into a larger, 24,000-square-foot building.
Today, San Diego-based Damar offers complete mold-making capabilities, including wire electric discharge machining, and secondary operations such as decorating, assembly, packaging and direct shipping for its original equipment manufacturer customers.
The company employs 40-50 people, depending on the operation's requirements, and serves the sports equipment, medical and industrial components markets.